AS a Guyanese I am very disappointed but not surprised by the A Partnership for National Unity and the Alliance For Change coalition’s presentation in Parliament during the national budget debate. The debate contributions made by APNU+AFC parliamentarians lacked any real and true focus apart from cussing the government out. And they didn’t even do a good job at that. The debate continued with loud and racist remarks made by the opposition during their presentations in the National Assembly. There was little or no reference to facts and no due-diligence shown on projects they were talking about. This was an excursion at finding facts and searching for projects to criticize, because the opposition did no real in-depth analyses of the framework or content of the budgetary allocations, or even the speech delivered by the Senior Minister of Finance Dr Ashni Singh.
It was the presentation by Member of Parliament Sherod Duncan that took home the prize for the “Most Inspiring Piece of fiction.” He should be ashamed of his delivery because he did not say anything that was different or helpful to the parliament or Guyanese mindsets when it relates to development.
He mentioned during the debate that persons are still waiting on the “pink slip-promises” of the PPP/C administration. But there is deceit when it comes to what he is “trying” to say. It is a known fact that thousands of Guyanese will get their $25, 000 cash grant from government as soon as the budget is passed.
More so, that is not a promise, because the money is there and will be given to the people. This government has achieved giving the cash grants to more than 200, 000 families in the time-frame of six months. This is more than what the opposition did for the lives of Guyanese during the start of the pandemic, or anytime during their five-year term in office.
Secondly, Mr Duncan knows like all of Guyana that he can’t speak about promises not fulfilled by any government because of the APNU+AFC coalition’s record in office. Maybe Mr Duncan can tell us what happened to the more than 8,000 house lots which were promised by the APNU+AFC during a year?
Or the constitutional reform process which was promised by his colleagues when they were in office? Maybe he could shine light on what happened with the debacle regarding monies at Chronicle? Or maybe what happened with the community policing body and why it died or was neglected during his chairmanship of the body? What was the government doing with the people’s business? Were they just running to High Court and the CCJ trying to overturn a case which the world had no doubt would prevail? I can ask more questions of Mr Duncan, but space and time would not allow me to do so. So, Mr Duncan’s statement about “pink-slip” just defeats the purpose for which he aims to use it.
And also, his use of the term of “green slip” in reference to the things that were influenced by what the former President David Granger’s accomplishments were while in office that are in the 2021 budget, should provide much-needed satire and jokes for Guyanese who are in the know. But let me say, the budget did not strike me as being a rip off of whatever APNU+AFC policies he struggled to mention.
There is a continuity of programmes that worked and the new ones that this government plans to implement for all to benefit. If Mr Duncan was hoping that the plans would be to just start afresh and produce an entirely new budget, he is wrong, though I can’t say it’s the first thing that he was wrong about in the delivery of his speech.
Even after this tirade of attacks and ill-fitted policy positions by the opposition, the budget is a balanced set of policies and plans to be rolled out by the People’s Progressive Party while in office. Consequently, I hope that the opposition would improve the quality of their presentation in the National Assembly. There must be a strong focus on facts and the truth, not one’s own whimsical fantasies. There should be elevated thought about the things that you are going to champion in the budget. Similarly, there should be things said about how you can improve what is in the budget, or what could be put into the budget estimates to improve the lives of every group of Guyanese across the spectrum.